Kapp and van Niekerk have both put their names into the WPL player auction, but van Niekerk’s participation will depend on whether the CSA is willing to grant her NOC. The board’s policy is to deny injured or unfit players the right to participate in overseas leagues, though their influence becomes moot if the player is retired. While CSA had previously sent players who were not considered fully match ready (such as Anrich Nortje at last year’s IPL) to a tournament where with a program in place to regain fitness, ESPNcricinfo has learnt that CSA is unsure whether they make that concession for van Niekerk, who was 18 seconds short of a two-kilometre time trial mark.
“She is part of the World Cup. She is committed to the World Cup cause,” Moreeng, South Africa’s coach, said. “She needed a break for compassionate leave and it was granted to her because we felt we are very happy with the form she is in, as far as her skills are considered. The leave was granted to her so she can come back ready to play.”
Moreeng conceded that the disruption of losing his key allrounder, Kapp, for the final and the uncertainty around van Niekerk’s selection has “been tough,” on everyone in the South African camp but he wants his players to “move on” quickly. “It’s been tough on everyone. The players I know will be very disappointed but at the end of the day, we need to move on,” he said. “The disappointment is one of the things we will have to deal with and move on as a team. The players are very professional. They know these kinds of things happen. We don’t wish it for any player but it is what it is. They know they need to get on with it.”
Like convenor of selectors Clinton du Preez, who announced the World Cup squad on Tuesday, Moreeng maintained that the rule used to leave van Niekerk out of the World Cup was applied fairly across the board. “When you look at the minimum standard required of players to be available for selection – players around the country know what is required,” he said. “It’s a non-negotiable and every professional cricketer knows it. Hence we have bigger squads, so we can make sure we have depth in every position.”
Asked whether he feels he has his best squad at his disposal, Moeeng said, “It’s the strongest 15 available to us.”